City Censors: The Notorious Watch and Ward Society

TUE, SEP 28, 2010 (41:26)

Neil Miller, author and lecturer in journalism at Tufts University, traces the evolution of the straitlaced, New England Watch and Ward Society from its aristocratic reformist roots to its ruthless moral crusades.

The influential and contentious New England Watch and Ward Society acted as Boston’s unofficial moral guardians for over 80 years. These elite watchdogs actively policed the city’s social evils from gambling and prostitution, to obscene books and scandalous theater. Elaborate sting operations, raids, ample arrests, and courtroom battles earned the Society notoriety and Boston a reputation as a prudish and puritanical city.

+ BIO: Neil Miller

Neil Miller teaches journalism at Tufts University and is the award-winning author of five books. He lives in Somerville, Massachusetts.

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